Decoding Art Market Jargon
DECODING ART MARKET JARGON
Artist’s ProofProofs from print production that are sent to the artist for approval before going forward with the print series will be marked ‘A/P’. This indicates that the artist approved this specific print. Such markers will increase the value of the print, setting them apart from the rest of the series.
AppraisalThe formal evaluation of the value of the work usually done by an auction house, a gallery, or an expert. This value often establishes the insurance value of the piece.
Blue ChipThese are the most coveted works in the art market because they are expected to hold their value or increase regardless of any ebbs and flows in the market. Think Picasso, Rembrandt, or Jackson Pollock.
Brick and ClickA relatively new term in the art world, this refers to art galleries that have stores online and in real life.
FlippingSome collectors will buy art in order to resell it at a higher price once the value of the work has increased.
FairtigueAnother relatively new term for the art world, this refers to the feeling of exhaustion that gallery owners and artists can feel after months and months of exhibiting at fairs.
FreeportThis is a super secure storage facility for high-end art that is located in a tax-exempt area. Blue chip pieces can be bought and sold multiple times without ever leaving the facilities, with the result that all transactions happen tax free.
Delaware Freeport Fine Art Storage
ProvenanceThe paper trail (or formal documentation) that shows who has owned the piece since it left the artist’s hands and where it has been stored. It is useful for establishing the authenticity of the piece and can be integral to assessing its value. It is even more important when it comes to buying antiquities where international laws against looting are incredibly strict about clearly authenticated paper trails.
Primary vs. Secondary Art MarketThe primary art market describes everything sold from the artist to the first owner. The secondary art market characterizes any transaction that happens after that initial one.
- Edition – This refers to how many prints were made. Artists will create a certain number of prints to control their price. The print will then be marked with a number to show which print in the run it is. So a print that has 2/15 written on it shows that it is the second print in a run of 15.
- Limited Edition Print – In theory this means that only a certain number of prints exist and that the artist won’t make anymore in the future. Again, this is done to control the price of the works.
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